Budokan Festival creates international harmony

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Members of the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band rehearse Nov. 14 at the Nippon Budokan Arena in Tokyo for the 2013 Japan Self-Defense Force Marching Festival. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Pete Sanders)
Members of the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band rehearse Nov. 14 at the Nippon Budokan Arena in Tokyo for the 2013 Japan Self-Defense Force Marching Festival. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Pete Sanders)

Budokan Festival creates international harmony

by: Lance Cpl. Pete Sanders | .
Okinawa Marine Staff | .
published: November 23, 2013

TOKYO - Marines from the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band participated in the 2013 Japan Self-Defense Force Marching Festival Nov. 15 – 16 at the Nippon Budokan Arena in Tokyo.

The III MEF band joined the Japan Ground, Air, and Maritime Self-Defense Force bands, the JSDF Academy band, the Kingdom of Thailand’s Royal Thai Army Band, a Taiko corps, and the 296th U.S. Army-Japan Band for six performances during the 49th iteration of the annual festival.

For decades, the arena has been a sought-after venue for famous performers from around the world, according to Sgt. Adam R. Tibesar, a musician, section leader and operations and logistics clerk with the III MEF Band.

“I see it as an honor – to perform in the same place as (many famed musicians),” said Tibesar.

Each year, the festival features performances based around a theme, according to Lance Cpl. Jean C. Salas, a musician with the III MEF Band. This year’s theme was ‘Power for Peace.’

“To me, the theme shows that music has the power to enable us to come together peacefully,” said Salas.

The theme alludes to a deeper meaning through the presence of several performing bands, according to Tibesar.

“The military is often perceived as a symbol of power,” said Tibesar. “The festival unites three powers (Thailand, Japan and the U.S.) through our common interest in music and peace.”

Each band performed three songs individually, followed by the bands performing together in various combinations.

Bringing this many bands together for one event is no small feat, according to Lt. Kenichi Takano, assistant director and a musician with the JMSDF Band.

“This is traditionally a very large-scale event,” said Takano. “I have to give credit to event organizers for accomplishing something so large at such a historical stadium.”

Each band has given, and will continue to give, their full effort into every event where they perform, according to Tibesar.

“We’ve been preparing for this event for quite a while,” said Tibesar. “The bands have (put all of their) effort into this.”

With all the anticipation coinciding with this year’s event, next year’s festival is still on the distant horizon, according to Takano.
“It’s a huge honor to help host the Budokan Marching Band Festival,” said Takano. “I have no doubt that there will be another one next year. I can’t think about how much bigger it will be.”

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